New Delhi, Mar 24 (FN Bureau) A total of 25 agri-tech startups have made the cut as semi-finalists of the Cisco Agri Challenge, co-hosted by The/Nudge Foundation, in partnership with the office of Principal Scientific Adviser, Government of India. The startups were selected from 844 entries received in the challenge. Cisco Agri Challenge is an initiative aimed at mobilizing agri-tech startups to innovate solutions that have the potential to positively impact at least 10 million lives.
With a prize purse of INR 2 crores, the challenge supports participants in developing, testing, and scaling solutions that help alleviate the issues of low income and diminishing profitability, farmers are facing. The top 100 selected startups went through a pitch round before an eminent panel comprising Mr. Mark Kahn (Co-founder, Omnivore), Mr. Hemendra Mathur (Venture Partner, Bharat Innovation Fund), Dr. Ashok Dalwai (CEO, National Rainfed Area Authority), Prof. Shamika Ravi (Non-resident Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution), Mr. PVS Suryakumar (Dy. Managing Director, NABARD) and others, and 25 contestants were shortlisted as semi-finalists who will start the user-testing of their solutions on the ground beginning April.
Harish Krishnan, Managing Director, Public Affairs and Strategic Engagements, Cisco India and SAARC said, “The startups selected promise to bring much required innovation and solutions that can increase productivity and profitability of the agriculture sector. There has never been a more exciting time in agri-tech, and we look forward to partnering with these startups to bring the benefits of digitization to the farming sector.”
The Cisco Agri Challenge is a platform that draws talent, technology, capital, and attention to the most pressing land, crop, infrastructure, market fulfillment, and social protection issues of small farmers, spurred by the pandemic. It solves an urgent need to bring together resources and action to address population-scale challenges for the agriculture sector, which is the backbone of India. Commenting on the announcement, Sudha Srinivasan, CEO – The/Nudge Centre for Social innovation said, “It is heartening to note that the 25 shortlisted agri-tech startups have innovated and developed solutions to improve efficiency and add value across the entire agricultural value chain. We are enthused about the work they are doing and feel that they can make a huge difference in improving farmers’ income and overall prosperity.”